I was honored to speak today at a presentation for CBIA entitled "Social Media for Business". We had a packed crowd today and it was a great opportunity to hear from others in Connecticut who are really using social media to enhance their business and build their reputation as a thought leader. Brent Robertson, Bonnie Sharon, Robert McGuiness, Rick Hancock, Dan Schwartz

We used Twitter today to track what was going on and you can get a recap of all the tweets from it using the hashtag #smfb09.  My thanks to the other presenters for sharing their wisdom as well; learned some new tricks.  You can find them on Twitter at @brentrobertson, @cellularchloe, @prattandwhitney and @rickhancock.  

One of topics that I discussed what the need for companies to set some guidelines for their own social media usage and by their employees. 

Moreover, taking some of the social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter from behind a firewall is an important step to opening it up for employees to see. (And, as a speaker pointed out, it’s not like those employees aren’t accessing Facebook or Twitter via their smartphones anyways).

So what does a sample social media policy look like? Well, there is no one right policy; it will depend on your industry (for example, financial services employees are more regulated then say, public relations) and your company’s culture.  Answering the question, "How much trust do you place in your employee?" may dictate the scope of the policy too.

But here are some suggestions to get you thinking.

  • Want to see a company policy that provides guidelines instead of merely a list of restrictions? We’ll take a look at the social media policy created by IBM.  While it needs to be tailored to a particular company, it discusses a lot of concepts that are important to get. 
  • Looking for another alternative? Doug Cornelius of the Compliance Building blog, has his own set of suggestions for a social media policy. It’s well worth taking a look.  A more recent example is Connecticut’s own ESPN; its set of guidelines are a bit more restrictive, which makes sense given that the  company that is in the business of providing content.

And for those looking for tips on how to get started on Twitter, I highly recommend this site., TwiTip.

As said in the presentation today, social media isn’t going away and the opportunities to grow your brand and image as an employer are far greater than they have been. So, take time to learn what’s right for your company and provide your employees with the tools to use it.